Each new Student Liaison partakes in a three-part training which includes: (1) a safety training with Brian Hurd, JCU Police Chief, (2) a meeting with a CSSA staff member to review the Student Liaison manual and the logistics of the position, and (3) a site visit with a veteran Student Liaison to your service site prior to your first drive.
During your site visit, the veteran Student Liaison will teach you about facilitating reflection, building community in the van, and other important details about the position. Click here for additional training documents.
To promote continued leadership development, Liaisons also attend mandatory monthly trainings that are coordinated and facilitated by the Student Leadership Team and CSSA staff.
There are six monthly trainings held each academic year. The trainings review the topics of leadership, safety, mission, reflection, mentoring, communication, self-care, diversity, job skills, and advocacy. The meetings are interactive and give Liaisons the opportunity to learn from the lived experience of one another.
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Each Student Liaison is a part of a mentor group. Each mentor group is comprised of newer and veteran Student Liaisons who come together to discuss their experience, share advice, build community, and support one another. Group bonding activities, meetings around campus, and some friendly competition make these mentor groups quite a bit of fun.
Did you know you can earn your group bonus points by submitting a #MyServiceStory? We post these on social media and share one each week in our e-newsletter. Click here to complete the form!
“When you get back in the van after service, our role as Liaisons is to initiate reflection. This may be challenging, especially if you have a quiet group.”
: Annmarie Kirchner ’17
“My biggest piece of advice for new Liaisons is to truly love service. Some students in your van might only be there because it’s a requirement, but if you let them know why you love being there, it can help them grow to enjoy their experience, too. This enthusiasm should extend from the conversations in the van into the service site itself, since you set the example for how they should act. Being a Liaison means that you’re a connector; you connect John Carroll to the service site, but you’re also connecting the JCU students to service, sometimes for the first time. Therefore it’s important to be knowledgeable about the populations with whom you’ll be serving, the history of their community, and what social justice issues come into play. One of the most rewarding service experiences has been volunteering at Eliza Bryant Village and explaining the history of the Hough neighborhood to my van, which they brought up again and again in our reflections throughout the semester.”
: Robin Goist ‘18
“My advice is to pay attention to the way people interact with others during service so that you can try to relate the reflection quote to a specific moment that day. If nothing relates, don’t be afraid to reflect on what is relevant to your day at service! If someone had an eye opening conversation with a person at the site, elaborate on that and see if anyone else has insights on the topic. If the conversation begins to head in an inappropriate direction, don’t be afraid to interrupt and explain that it needs to stay respectful/appropriate. You’ll find that even though you all are at the same place, you’ll have different experiences and it is fun to learn from each other.”
: Annmarie Kirchner ‘17
“I think the hardest part of being a student liaison is the drive to and from. Besides the actual driving, engaging students can be difficult. Being a fun leader and one that actually gets students to reflect don’t have to be at odds with another. You just have to find the right ways to guide the students to talking about what they just did.”
: Tyler Jew ‘18
“Silence – I wish I would have known that students regardless of their grade, may not talk at first or at all. You may have a van that is very quiet, and that’s completely normal. But part of our job is to encourage students to share their experience aloud with the van in order to support their service experience and the experience of others because many students may feel the same way and a few students differently, which is great as well. Take any opportunity during service, especially during reflection, to learn from each other by discussing what happened, what we can do, and the bigger picture/larger injustice that concerns the site.”
: Zachary Thomas ‘18
“The skills you learn as a Liaison you may not even realize until you are out of school, but I promise you they are real….the leadership skills you are subconsciously learning from the monthly trainings and the actual experience will help you immensely in your everyday and professional life. It has taught me to be comfortable asking someone to do or not to do something, it has taught me to be comfortable in a leadership role, and above all, it has taught me to be respectful of different views and ideas, even if they differ from my own.”
: Marina Giannirakis ‘17
“I have been a Liaison for 3 years and I hope that my advice will help make this experience a great one. Beginnings are often the times when you’re most nervous, but they are also the most important because they set the tone for the whole semester. Don’t be nervous! You should be confident in yourself as a Liaison; you were chosen for a reason. Be sure to be friendly when you meet those in your van- if you are happy to be there, chances are they will be too. Introduce yourself and talk a little bit about what you do, where you’re from, etc. but then ask about them! People like to talk about themselves so try to learn as much as you can about each person in the van. Once everyone has shared a little about themselves, try to find a commonality amongst the group and build upon that in order to become more of a unit.”
: Annmarie Kirchner ‘17
“When it comes to building community in the van and making the best out of your experience, it’s important to be as excited as you want your van to be. You being enthusiastic and willing to share is contagious and always makes for a better experience. For a lot of students, it will be their first service experience, so you want to show them how great and exciting it is! Most importantly, make an effort to be present and fully engaged in your service activity and reflections. Your role as a Liaison is so important, and your involvement can make all the difference.”
: Kaylee Quanbeck ‘17
“I think one of the major responsibilities as a Student Liaison is to help build and facilitate relationships within the group of John Carroll students. There are several ways to do this. Something I usually do is try to get everyone together to meet for coffee or go to lunch if the group has formed a strong connection and it’s convenient for the group. Anything that builds team camaraderie will help the group be more effective in their service at the various sites. Have a positive attitude and the rest of the group will follow.”
: Bobby Cowen ‘17
“Becoming a Student Liaison was one of my best decisions at Carroll. Being the leader while driving to service and then at the service site really helps you grow as a person. You are able to build relationships with students here at school in the van and get to meet endless new faces at your service site as well. The best advice I have is to go in with a positive attitude and never resist the unfamiliar. Also, try and personalize conversations inside the van and service sites to reiterate that you are indeed listening to them and remembering what they say. It may seem difficult to settle in at first, however, by the time it’s the last week or two you’ll be wishing the semester wouldn’t end and you could keep going back every week.”
: Tim Delaney ‘17
The most important rule for any service site is to show respect toward the service partners. If you do that as the leader it will be a reflection of the group as a whole.”
: Bobby Cowen ’17
“If you are a new Student Liaison, it is helpful to understand is that CSSA is your best resource. Absolutely any question you have they can answer. They have dealt with every situation in the book. Do not be afraid to ask them any question you ever have! Veteran liaisons are also wonderful resources.”
: Kaylee Quanbeck ‘17
“Be sure to communicate with the site coordinators if you can on your pre-visit or ask the CSSA office in advance what you will be doing at the site so that you can help prepare students on their first day of service. Ask as many questions as you want because they are there to make sure that everything is clear for you.”
: Tyler Jew ‘18
“Assertiveness – Our service partners are great, but sometimes they can ask too much from us because they are focused on an issue fueled by their passion. But no matter what, we have to know our limits, when something is too much for not only you as the driver but for the students as well, and when something is going on too long beyond the service time, and so forth. It’s hard to tell the partner that you can’t do something, so this is where assertiveness come into the picture. As long as you are assertive, respectful, and understanding at your service site with the community partners, then all issues can be resolved easily. You can also definitely share any issues or questions that arise with CSSA staff who can help you come up with a plan and steps of what to do.”
: Zachary Thomas ‘18
Complete the form below to show us how you #ServeCLE! We’ll share your story on social media and in our weekly e-newsletter. If you’re a CSSA student liaison, you’ll earn points for your mentor group!